Have you been born of the Spirit?

September 16, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.”
(John 3:5-6 (NIV))

More people are aware of the verse just a few short sentences before this passage.

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.
(John 3:3 (NIV))

In fact, even nonbelievers are familiar with this passage to the point where they have created bumper stickers saying that they were born okay the first time. Ironically, their comments support the words that Jesus spoke about flesh gives birth to flesh. They either don’t understand the concept of being born again or they choose to rebel against the idea out of ego and pride. Think about that for a moment. When do we see the very first rebellion against God and what was the cause of this rebellion? Ever since Satan declared that he wanted to be God, pride has become a major issue. Pride became such an issue that it caused the fall from grace. It caused all the sins of the world. If you look at the Ten Commandments, everything that the Lord God told us to obey are things that lead us to Him and away from pride. We are to honor only God and His Name. We are not to pick part of His creation and worship it. We are to obey the Lord and live according to His desires and laws. Anything short of that is a sin.

All flesh has been corrupted by the fall from grace. That is why our ancestors were driven from the Garden of Eden. They had corrupted God’s perfect creation. As descendants of Adam and Eve, we are just as guilty.

God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.
(John 4:24 (NIV))

We cannot approach God in sin. We must be cleansed. We must be made anew. We must accept the grace and mercy given to us on the cross. We must accept the Spirit of God and allow Him to work in us from the inside out and make us people who are focused on things of the Spirit instead of things of this earth. We must allow God’s Spirit to be birthed in us!

Have you been born of the Spirit?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God’s timing is perfect!

August 29, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.
(1 Peter 5:6 (NIV))

Are you tired of waiting on God?

Do you think that you could do a better job than God does with your life?

If you answered “Yes” to either or both of these questions, I need to point out something to you. Based on the first two words in 1 Peter 5:6, do your answers make you sound humble? On the contrary, they indicate the exact opposite. In fact, it could be said that these answers border on pride. In order of the questions, they convey that you feel that you are more important than anyone else, and that you feel that you are more important than God.

Are you guilty of telling the Lord that He is too slow? Would you be spiritually ready if He did everything you asked according to your timeline? Can you tell the end from the beginning as well as every single turn that must be made to get to that end? Think about that last question in context of a road trip as a passenger in a car. You only know that you are moving forward. Some roads along the way are smooth like an interstate highway and you long to stay on these pleasant roads. Unfortunately, not all destinations can be reached via interstate. Sometimes there is road construction or sometimes you need to travel on a road that is bumpy and unpleasant, but it gets you where you need to go. When you arrive at your destination, you recognize each stretch of road for what it contributed to your arrival.

Think of your life in this manner!

When we say that we are tired of waiting on God, or that we could do a better job than God, we are trying to smooth out the road and arrive based on our understanding and not on the understanding of He who sees the end from the beginning. In fact, God has a unique plan and purpose for each person’s life. Some may travel the bumpy roads longer than others, but don’t lose hope. We simply need to humble ourselves and surrender to the Lord and acknowledge that He is in control.

You may just be surprised to find that God’s timing is perfect!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Be careful how you answer this!

June 24, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One.
(Isaiah 40:25 (NIV))

We may not think that we compare God to anyone or to anything, but if we don’t place Him first in our lives, we are guilty of doing just that!

Think about this from a personal perspective. What is it that you desire most in life? Is it wealth? Is it fame? Is it power? Do you model your life on someone who has the things that you desire? Do you look to them as your standard or do you look to God to give you direction and guidance for your life?

Based on those questions, it is extremely easy to compare others to God. It is easy to place God second or even lower in your life. Is this what you want? Perhaps I should ask is this what God wants?

We have a tendency to look at the Lord as some sort of genii who is there to grant our every wish and to stay out of our lives when we think we don’t need anything. In all honesty, when this happens, we are comparing ourselves to God. We may not intend to do this, but in fact, we are guilty of elevating ourselves above the Lord. Is this what you want? Is this what God wants?

Human nature is far too predictable. Even when we profess to know the Lord, we fail miserably at truly recognizing His majesty. We fail when we turn to ourselves or to others for guidance and direction when we have the Creator waiting for us to turn to Him. Are we guilty of comparing ourselves or others to God? Are we guilty of placing ourselves or others above God?

Be truthful!

Be careful how you answer this!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you too proud to accept God’s gifts?

October 12, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, `Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

“Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

“When he came to his senses, he said, `How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

“The son said to him, `Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

“But the father said to his servants, `Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
(Luke 15:11-24 (NIV))

Everybody is familiar with the story of the prodigal son. I have heard someone comment on it in such a way as to shed new light on God’s mercy and grace.

God does not wait until we ask for forgiveness to forgive us. We are forgiven even before we ask for it!

We must ask in order to receive it, but He has already decided that He will forgive us. Asking for forgiveness shows a change of heart on our part and this change of heart prepares us to accept the grace that God has already granted us. Without this change of heart, we cannot accept God’s grace. We do not feel that we need it. It is a matter of pride.

Asking for grace shows that we have humbled ourselves. Sadly, far too many people are too proud to ask for anything.

Grace and mercy are free. We pay the personal price by swallowing our pride when we ask for them.

Are you too proud to accept God’s gifts?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you headed for destruction and a fall?

July 30, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.
(Proverbs 16:18 (NIV))

Have you been able to overcome these attitudes?

Human nature is such a strange thing. It is so easy to slip into a state of pride and arrogance. We do it so often that many of us probably don’t ever realize that we are doing it! If you find this difficult to believe, simply look at the last time you experienced something like one of the following at work and how you reacted.

You finish up a large project of which 90% of the project was your contribution, and then someone else gets the credit.

You now the business and the job so well that everyone comes to you for answer, yet, someone else gets the promotion or the raise.

Did you find yourself responding with an attitude like, “How dare they do that. This company wouldn’t even be able to do what we do if it weren’t for me!”

I could go on and on with examples and responses, but the overall idea is that all of us can easily slip into attitudes that are far less than what we know we should do. We slip into pride and arrogance!

We need to keep our eyes on Jesus and recognize our sinful nature when it raises its ugly head. We need to turn away from our sinful nature and turn toward Jesus so that we don’t find ourselves headed for destruction and a fall.

Are you headed for destruction and a fall?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Has our society lost the ability to be humble?

June 29, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”
(1 Peter 5:5 (NIV))

If you look closely, there are some words in this passage that strike a nerve in most people. Can you spot them?

Did you say “submit” and “humble”?

What is it about our human nature that just doesn’t like the concept behind these two words? Why is submission so difficult and why is humility so hard to find anymore? Our society seems to thrive on thwarting these two desirable characteristics at any and every opportunity that presents itself. All that you have to do is pay any attention to the events that are transpiring in the world and you quickly see a total lack of these two characteristics, especially when it comes to a Biblically based perspective. It seems like the only thing that most people are willing to submit to are their own wicked thoughts and desires!

Contrary to what is the absolute truth, society has been convinced that the only truth is what is true for you. The concept that we all answer to an absolute truth does not exist in the minds of many people. They have been taught that if they think that it is true, then it is. If you have a vast number of individuals thinking that whatever they think or say is true, then they rapidly become arrogant. They no longer feel that they must be considerate and humble, after all, they are always right. They are perfect!

I think I can safely say that when you read that last paragraph, the description made you think of some of the recent events and groups that are in the news. In your reflections on these groups, does anything that they do even have any semblance of submission or humility? Does anything about these events and groups have a basis in what we would consider Biblical morals and values?

Has our society lost the ability to be humble?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Does creation think it is better than the Creator?

June 8, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, “You did not make me”? Can the pot say to the potter, “You know nothing”?
(Isaiah 29:16 (NIV))

I have read this passage many times before, but reading it today made me hang my head in sorrow and shame!

What is it about human nature that makes us think that we know better than anyone and everyone else, including the very one who formed us out of dust?

Do you ever find yourself telling God how things should be done? It may be something as small as a selfish prayer that only benefits you in a way that you don’t really need. If you stop and think about it, this kind of action is telling God that you can handle things better than He can. If we look at society, we see this type of arrogant attitude as the root of all of the issues that society is facing today. God has a plan, yet, too many people have come forward and believe that they have a better plan. Biblical values and principles are ridiculed and mocked by the so-called “educated” and “enlightened” people of this world. Even though they say that they don’t believe in God, they mock anything that is Biblically based. They believe that they have a better way than what is contained within God’s Word.

It’s sad how these people act.

If you have children, then you will probably agree with me on this mental picture. Is it just me, or do these people seem to be stuck forever in the “Terrible Twos” and forever trying to assert their authority when they truly don’t have any authority? To be honest with you, this all goes back to the Garden of Eden. God told Adam and Eve to stay away from the tree in the center of the garden and they believed the lie that He didn’t really mean it. In other words, they were convinced that they knew better than God.

And to this day, we all have a tendency to believe it, too!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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